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Austin Woman Magazine - XYZ Atlas
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Austin Woman Magazine

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Austin Woman Magazine

ALL OVER THE MAP

Local artist Jennifer Chenoweth discusses her colorful project, ‘XYZ Atlas,’ and what it has to teach us about attachment to place.

By Grace Snively

Picking favorites: It’s a pastime that, even if you haven’t lived in Austin long, you’re likely guilty of participating in. Consider these Austin-centric activities: hiking on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail or the Greenbelt, sipping coffee on the patio at Caffe Medici or Cenote, or shopping on South Congress Avenue. For every decision we make, there are just as many varying reasons why we make them. Reasons, says local artist Jennifer Chenoweth, that reflect our emotional connection to place.

Chenoweth’s latest project is “XYZ Atlas,” an interactive public art display that shows how, by picking favorites, we are all connected to our surroundings.

To tell the whole story of “XYZ Atlas” means rewinding to the year 2013. That’s when Chenoweth latched on to ’70s psychologist Robert Plutchik’s theory of emotional wholeness and how emotions relate together on a color wheel. As an artist, Chenoweth fell in love with the visual concept of his theory and realized it could be used as a tool to understand and accept personal emotions. A few brainstorming sessions later, Chenoweth had created a chart on which Austinites could fill in both the positive and negative experiences they had attached to places throughout the city.

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Jennifer Chenoweth